Start of Semester Jitterbug

Today is the first day of the new semester. I have been staring at the textbooks for these fresh new courses and feeling very impatient for days. But, today is the day and I am so excited. I can hardly wait! I grab my cup of coffee, sit at my computer, logon to Penn State University’s website, and then onto ANGEL, the online site where all the classes are held.

I click on the first class, then the next, and the next, until I have viewed every syllabus, “start here,” course calendar, course objectives and expectations, and the due dates of the first assignments. And through it all, my enthusiasm and anticipation begin to wane as my mind races.

“Oh my. Oh My… What? No way! Uh-uh. Are you serious? You have GOT to be kidding me! Please tell me you are not serious? Whaaaat?! Oh, no! You can’t expect me… Wait a minute… Excuse me? Ha-ha-ha-ha! Yeah, right! Gulp! Gulp! Gulp! (No, I am not sucking down a slurpee.) Ugh! This is too much. I can’t do all of this! There is no way! Not a chance in… Holy cow! Unbelievable! I am feeling sick. This is crazy. What was I thinking? I better lie down. Besides, I have all week still ahead of me. How am I ever going to keep up? This is insane. There is just no way… Forget it!”

Suddenly, I stop, shocked at my own thoughts. But then I just start laughing. This happens every time a new semester starts. I literally panic for the first hour or so while viewing what is ahead of me. Twisting and turning in my chair, my hands and feet going in all directions, and who said I couldn’t dance the jitterbug anyway?

Once the coffee sets into my bones and I realize I have already started taking notes and making detailed, time-sensitive lists, I can feel myself calming down and answering my own questions.

Yes, they are serious and no, they are not kidding, and yes, they can expect you to, and no, it is not too much, and yes, you can do all of this. You know you can. You always do and you always surprise yourself. This is exactly what you have signed up for and for the price this education is costing you, why would you want or expect anything less than the challenge of learning something you don’t already know? Jeez, Louise. Relax!”

I open one of the text books and start reading. Flip, flip, flip go the pages. I write notes, I browse my courses, the internet, more books, mark pages, highlight key statements, open Word and begin typing. Reading, writing, browsing, marking, highlighting, more notes, more typing, and the clock ticks on. Hours later, I finish the assignments, submit them, and then think to myself, “Where was it that I read…oh yes, here it is. I have seen this before. Let me see, uh, oh yeah! I have seen this before.” I get up and go to my book shelf, grab a book, then two more as an afterthought, type something into Google, and I am off on another train of thought.

I am once again in my element. The jitterbug will just have to wait until the first day of the following semester.

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